Center for Urban and Global Studies
The China-Europe Freight Train (CEFT), which inaugurated its run from the megacity of Chongqing in southwestern China to Europe’s largest river port of Duisburg in western Germany in 2011, has roared through its first decade. With 82 routes currently connecting nearly 100 Chinese cities and around 200 cities across 24 European countries and more than a dozen Central, East, and Southeast Asian countries, the CEFT has formed a vast transcontinental freight network spanning both ends of Eurasia. As the CEFT runs into its second decade, it has already sent around 60,000 trains cumulatively between Europe, China, and parts of East Asia and Southeast Asia by October 2022. Every day now, around 40 freight trains carrying hundreds of containers and other forms of cargo shipments run east and west across Eurasia, with extended rail-sea and rail-river intermodal shipping across the Caspian, Black, and Mediterranean seas and along the Rhine and Yangtze Rivers. The scope and strength of the CEFT-induced logistical connectivity along Eurasia has hit an all-time high since I wrote about its then state of development in “Connectivity, Connectivity, Connectivity: Has the China-Europe Freight Train Become a Winning Run?” as the cover story for the August-September 2021 issue of this magazine. Reading that and this article in tandem will provide a broad and fast-moving picture of how a transcontinental freight rail system has developed with great rapidity, extensive reach, and considerable success, against a serious geopolitical risk posed by the war in Ukraine.
European Financial Review